I want to talk about some funk! My love of funk is deep, down to my soul. It just makes me happy, makes me bob my head and move to the rhythm, giving me a smile. The lyrics usually aren’t very deep, instead more silly and light-hearted in nature. The core of funk is the bass line and drums, highlighted by funky guitar riffs and complimentary horns. While there are plenty of funk bands these days, I mostly prefer the old school. I think of my “Mount Rushmore” of funk bands: James Brown and the JBs, George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic, The Meters, and Sly and the Family Stone. Sly is who I want to focus on today. He was most prominent in the late 60s through the 70s, formed in San Francisco during the golden age of free love and hippies. Sly and the Family Stone brought funk to the masses there, bringing together people from different backgrounds. Their songs were soulful and happy, with great harmonies and horns on top of a funky rhythm. They cranked out plenty of hits, like Dance to the Music, Stand, Everyday People, Everybody is a Star, Family Affair, and the song I want to talk about today, Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin).
Now I know what you’re thinking: What the hell is Fallettinme Be Mice Elf Agin? Well, the song sounds more like ” Thank you, for letting me be myself, again!” With it’s driving baseline by Larry Graham, a funk pioneer in his own right who started the slap bass technique, the song instantly pulls you in. The accompanying guitar riff and horns all blend well together. That’s the secret to a great funk song; several small and non-complex melodies and rhythms melding together to create something great. Just like cooking, the end result is greater than the sum of its parts.
Thank You has great message, one that embraces individualism and differences between us all. What a crazy thought! In this world today that is filled with divisiveness and hate speech, we could all use some positivity. Messages of acceptance and unity, coming together as one rather than judgment and stereotypes that lead to a racist, sexist, and anti-Semitic country. Now, I don’t want politics to enter this blog, so I’ll just say this: no matter what affiliation you may have reading this, you have to admit that the current climate is not helpful. And both sides have to accept blame and come up with creative solutions for a better America. There!……off my soapbox!
When I’m funking out to this song, I think about the wonderful support system of family and friend that have helped me deal with CF throughout my life. Living with a constant sense of mortality and daily limitations can be daunting and depressing if you don’t have the right people near you. From my parents and family growing up, to the lifelong friends I made in high school, to my amazing wife and son today. Everyone has helped in ways they cannot imagine. Without them, I would have been lost many times over, and could have allowed CF to overwhelm me. With them, they allow me to live a more positive life, all while dealing with the constant curveballs that this illness presents. Through these positive influences, I can be me. And I Thank You (Falletinme Be Mice Elf Agin).
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!